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Philadelphia Welcomes Back Fire Workers Deployed to NJ After Hurricane

(Second Alarmers' chief Greg Masi describes the conditions they encountered during emergency deployment to Jersey City, NJ after Hurricane Sandy.  Credit: Michelle Durham)

(Second Alarmers’ chief Greg Masi describes the conditions they encountered during emergency deployment to Jersey City, NJ after Hurricane Sandy. Credit: Michelle Durham)

Michelle Durham Michelle Durham
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By Michelle Durham

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Members of Philadelphia’s EMS “Strike Team” and the all-volunteer Philadelphia “Second Alarmers” returned home today after a week-long deployment to Jersey City, NJ, in the wake of the destruction of Hurricane Sandy.

At the Philadelphia Fire Academy this morning, firefighter cadets and officers saluted their return.

Fire Service paramedic chief George Butts, who was among those serving in Jersey City, says his group fulfilled a temporary but crucial role.

“We took over their EMS system,” he said today.  “We were Jersey City EMS while we were there.  Jersey City lost all of their EMS vehicles in the storm.”

And Second Alarmers’ chief Greg Masi (at lectern in top photo) said his group faced the challenge of serving more than 5,400 meals in that environment.

“Most of the supply houses had no power. We had a hard time finding food sources, let alone fuel,” he recalls.

specos peteamanda  durham Philadelphia Welcomes Back Fire Workers Deployed to NJ After Hurricane

(Pete Specos, a Philadelphia paramedic, and his daughter Amanda. Both served in Jersey City in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Credit: Michelle Durham)

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Amanda Specos, a Second Alarmer helping to serve the tired and hungry first responders with meals, says, “I got to meet a lot of people. It was a great experience helping everyone out up there.”

“I’m very proud,” added her father, paramedic Pete Specos.  “My daughter has made a significant accomplishment.”